If you're so family oriented OP, wouldn't you also want to leave your children with the biggest nest egg? You might realy love PI and all, but the fact that you're talented enough to get into Harvard means you are probably someone who will be very successful in almost every endeavor they undertake, which could lead to tremendous wealth as an amazing attorney, whether it's in biglaw or private practice. I think if I'm looking at what is best for my children, it would be to ensure that they never have to worry about 'money' ever in their lives, and will be free to not have to worry about making similar hard decisions are you are making right now (I.E. taking on debt because I am not independently wealthy). I don't know if I'm being totally clear in what I'm trying to convey, but essentially I am saying what's best for your children might be to choose the route that will lead to the most financial security for your family, which in this case is a no brainer IMO- a Harvard Law School degree.